In the ever-evolving telco industry, where agility and innovation are clear differentiators, cloud adoption has emerged as a crucial focal point, says Amdocs Cloud’s Division President & General Manager Stephen Ellis said. To accelerate their journey, Ellis believes telcos are increasingly seeking industry-specific solutions that can deliver targeted results. Specifically, they seek platforms – and strategic partners who can support them – in accordance with their unique needs, thereby facilitating a transition that is faster, smoother and more secure.
Gartner, which has nominated industry clouds as a top strategic technology trend for 2023, provides innovative insights into this trend even beyond telcos, Ellis advocates. He shared how it suggests combining SaaS, PaaS and IaaS with industry-specific functionality, organisations can ‘more easily adapt to the relentless stream of disruptions in their industry’.
With this in mind, Ellis reviews the current state of industry clouds, and how telcos specifically are shaping up.
Industry clouds: potential benefits and today’s realities
Industry cloud platforms are pre-defined, pre-customised and pre-configured to meet the needs of their respective vertical sector. The core proposition is that they are more conducive to early cloud success than generic platforms, such as having best practices and tooling for important processes, as well as industry governance or compliance requirements, built in from the outset. The platforms are easy to integrate and fine-tuning generic configurations to meet specific requirements is a straightforward process.
For large enterprises in highly regulated industries, it’s therefore easy to see why this is an attractive prospect. Indeed, the ability to re-use any field-tested solution is a calming factor for decision-makers: the benefits underpin a stronger business case for mass and rapid migration to the cloud, allaying stakeholder concerns around risk, timetables and disruption.
While in some sectors – such as financial services, retail and healthcare – industry clouds are gaining momentum and beginning to deliver on their promise, in others, true vertical support is patchy at best. Early sector-specific solutions created by systems integrators or vendors may simply be isolated pieces bolted together in an uncoordinated manner. This is quite different – and usually inferior – to a purpose-built, holistic industry cloud platform.
Yet clearly, the train has left the station. Gartner predicts that by 2027, more than 50% of enterprises will use industry cloud platforms. And while this represents huge market potential, decision-makers need to look closely at the extent of vertical support for their industry’s unique needs.
Meeting the cloud needs of telcos
In an industry as complex as ours, the lack of activity surrounding industry cloud platforms is somewhat ironic, with very few vendors even claiming to offer a solution. This is in stark contrast to the reality that telcos have many specific, unique and complex needs, where the presence of a telco-specific cloud could be invaluable. I surmise that the complexity of the telco environment is itself the reason that telco-specific industry clouds are not yet mature or commonplace.
Industry-specific features of a telco industry cloud
You may ask: ‘what is industry-specific about a telco vertical cloud?’. Below are examples of areas in which the specific needs of telcos must be met by the cloud platform:
- Data and monitoring: Telco IT and network systems create huge volumes of data. Understanding which data should be collected and tracked, and the optimal way to gather it, requires intimate industry expertise. Moreover, the collected data points need to be aligned with meaningful key performance indicators, like those linked to ordering and billing. Data presentation (e.g. which data should be displayed on which dashboard) also requires careful consideration. Then, add the complexities resulting from the fact that the data may emanate from the public cloud, private cloud or on-prem solutions.
- Automation: Telco-specific cloud management platforms can contain thousands of generic cloud automations together with thousands more that support telco-specific processes such as order fallouts and billing rejects.
- Landing zones: Some industry clouds also have capabilities unique to the telco sector baked into their landing zones, including low latency and super-fast responsiveness where needed to address high data volumes, compliance with authentication, authorisation and security guidelines, centralised logging and monitoring and more.
Additional areas where cloud management platforms need to support industry-specific requirements include resilience and security, AI models and multi-cloud FinOps.
For our complex, regulated sector, cloud adoption is no longer a question of ‘if’ but ‘how fast.’ The advent of industry-specific solutions tailored to the unique needs of telcos offers a clear path forward, with the promise to streamline cloud migration, enhance efficiency and foster innovation. However, the key to success in this journey lies in choosing the right vendor. A trusted partner with industry expertise and a commitment to meeting telco-specific requirements can make all the difference.
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